Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) is set to take a leading role in Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) production in the UK.
Artec, a Rheinmetall – Krauss-Maffei Wegmann joint venture, which leads the Boxer MIV programme designated RBSL as a primary vehicle manufacturer for the vehicle. The British Army finalised its boxer purchase with Artec last week.
RBSL will lead the fabrication of armoured vehicle structures and work on assembly, integration and testing from its Telford plant under a contract valued at £2.3bn.
RBSL Managing Director Peter Hardisty said: “Not only will the delivery of Boxer provide the British Army with a complete step-change in capability to meet their MIV requirement, it will also protect vital engineering and manufacturing skills as a sovereign capability to the UK.
“RBSL is incredibly proud to be a part of this milestone, alongside our partners in Artec.”
The British Army’s Boxer acquisition is the culmination of almost twenty years of stops and starts in vehicle programmes.
The UK originally joined the Boxer programme at its inception alongside Germany and France, but withdrew from the project in 2003 after the start of the Iraq War to pursue the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES), the British Army then later split the FRES programme into two separate procurement projects.
The Boxer features a double-V hull to deflect blasts delivered to the underside of the vehicle from mines or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Credits: MOD Crown Copyright.
The UK formally re-joined the programme last year and signed the contract to procure the vehicles last week. The British Army will join Germany, The Netherlands, Lithuania and Australia in operating the vehicle.
RBSL said that the programme will “create and sustain a vibrant national supply chain, with substantial investment across the industrial base in training and capital equipment.”
The programme aims to source more than 60% of the ‘vehicle content’ by value from suppliers based in the UK. RBSL said this will ensure “that the UK maintains sovereign manufacturing and engineering expertise to support the vehicles.”
Hardisty added: “RBSL has a proud heritage of working with the British Army and remains the Design Authority for almost all of the UK’s in-service armoured vehicle fleet. This programme builds on that relationship and marks a new chapter in vehicle manufacture for the UK defence industry.”
The Boxer is set to become an integral role in new British Army Strike groups serving alongside new AJAX vehicles built by General Dynamics. These army is modelling the Strike groups on US Army Stryker brigades allowing for flexible rapid deployment of an armoured force.
When the procurement was announced Mechanised Infantry Vehicle Programme lead Major General Simon Hamilton said: “I am delighted that we have committed to delivering the Mechanised Infantry capability through the purchase of around 500 battle-winning Boxer vehicles for the British Army.
“Boxer completes the suite of platforms to equip our new state-of-the-art STRIKE brigade where, alongside Ajax, Boxer’s low logistic need, extended reach, high-mobility, and advanced digitisation will ensure STRIKE is ready for any global scenario.”
The British Army is set to purchase four different variants of the Boxer including infantry carriers, specialist carriers, command vehicles and ambulances. RBSL says the vehicles have a service life of around 30 years.
RBSL, founded earlier this year, designs, manufactures and supports the development of military vehicles. Alongside work on the Boxer programme, RBSL is also set to play a key role in the Challenger II Life Extension Project (LEP).